In the spirit of partnership, as Renew’N’Able Malawi’s (RENAMA) Advocacy and Communications Officer for Green and Inclusive Energy (GIE) project, (which is being implemented with support from HIVOS International), had a joint radio program with Youth and Net Counselling’s radio presenter, Jonas Kachikho, on YONECO FM.
The two organizations, together with three others, Community Energy Malawi (CEM), Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) and National Association of Business Women (NABW) form a Malawi partnership in GIE.
Each partner has a responsibility. RENAMA is an energy-related organization while YONECO works in the media. Its role in the partnership is therefore to use its wide coverage to reach out to masses on the topic of sustainable energy in Malawi.
In order to achieve this, the radio established two half an hour weekly programs dedicated to the project. One airs on Monday and another on Friday, all from 4:30 pm. During these programs information, knowledge and skills on sustainable energy in Malawi is shared with the general public as a way of increasing Malawi’s problem-solving capacity in the face of acute energy poverty in Malawi.
I booked an appointment with Jonas Kachikho, YONECO’s radio presenter and GIE Project Coordinator, for a live radio program at the radio station on Friday, August 18, 2017. He, alongside other staff members, warmly welcomed our me after an exhausting journey from Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial capital, to Zomba, The Old Capital city, where the radio station is based.
We used this meeting as a forum to share with the general public the content used to train 58 advocates in June and July, 2017. This content consisted of basic knowledge, information and possible solutions that would aide in the issue of lack of access to sustainable energy in Malawi. The program was spent familiarizing the public with the definitions and types of energy, the key concepts surrounding energy as well as the notion of energy poverty and its impact on Malawi, and lastly, the discussion of energy solutions for households and communities in Malawi.
The program was aired in Chichewa. However, with most English energy related words without their vernacular equivalents, it was a challenge to communicate to those who could not understand. However, hope is on the way as the Malawi GIE partnership, led by RENAMA and CEM are working on an English to Chichewa translated glossary and dictionary of energy related words together with experts in the energy topic as well as in language and linguistics.